Sunday, February 17, 2013

Sundays In My City...Statue of Hebe

I wrote earlier--last week sometime, I think--that I couldn't do the Sundays In My City thing because there were only so many hours in a day.

Okay. Changed my mind a bit on that.  Because, this morning, for instance...

I took my camera with me as I was on a mission to find the controversial statue of Hebe, standing somewhere in the middle of the downtown area.  I'd read an article recently and just had to see what all the fuss was about.

So, after walking the boys, we drove around town until I finally stumbled upon her in a little park...

Hebe, the goddess of youth and thirst.  (And doesn't that seem like a very odd combination?  Thirsty youths?  Youthful thirsts?)

The story goes that the original Hebe Fountain was placed on a corner of Main Street in 1908 by the Women's Christian Temperance Union to provide water for horses, dogs and humans. The hope being that it would deter men from going to the many saloons in the downtown area.  (Yeah, like that was going to happen).

The statue shows the goddess in a gown with one of her breasts exposed, holding a cup in one hand and a jug in the other.  This same statue was one of many erected across the country at about the same time--again to convince men to drink water instead of demon rum, though I'm not too clear on what the Janet Jackson boob flash is supposed to convey...

Anyway.  The original statue was knocked down in 1912, when a runaway team of horses pulling a wagon reportedly toppled it.  Sent away to be repaired, it disappeared and for nine decades there was no statue downtown until a group of community folks decided it was time to bring a new Hebe back to the area.

And so it begins.

This is where I usually yank my hair in disbelief, gnash my teeth, despair for the mental processes of my fellow human beings.

It was determined by several groups that Hebe was a pagan, most likely a Wiccan, and therefore anti-christian.  Fervent, heated debate raged for years.  No, really.  Years.  The poor girl was accused of, among many other things, being a bad influence on the local youth because of that outrageously exposed breast--like there isn't a teenage boy in the world who can't get his hands on a magazine or website that shows far more than a pert wee boob.

Long story short.  The statue was finally replaced in 2007 and now stands in a small park at the edge of downtown, dispensing water for human and animals.  She's beautiful, and so far, has yet to drive the local male populace into wretched excess...

After reading the article I knew I'd better get a photo because guess what?  Another movement has begun to knock her right off that pedestal.  No need to say who is behind it, nor why they should feel so threatened by a lovely bronze statue from Greek myth.  (And am I the only one struck by the total irony that the statue was originally placed by the Women's Christian Temperance Union?)

With luck, cooler heads will prevail, the furor will die down and Hebe will be left in peace.

Because it's just too much to hope people will actually come to their senses...


  1. Well meaning people often make utter fools of themselves in their zeal.

    1. I find it so strange that over 100 years ago, this statue bothered no one, and was in fact sponsored by the women of the temperance movement who were considered "zealots" in their day. Religious fervor and censorship just disturbs me on so many levels...

  2. It is too much to hope for certain people to come to their senses. But I hope more rational folk win out and Hebe gets to stay!

    1. It's been awhile since I've chained myself to a cause. With any luck it won't come to that...

  3. It's probably just crass for me to think; nice rack! And I do feel compelled to have a drink or two...

    As for people; just tonight I was engaged in a spirited discussion about zealots and the finer points of herd mentality. At least you have the pictures.

    1. Yeah, nothing like nice perky metal breasts to make a man thirsty! ;D

      I'm always caught off-guard by self-righteous philosophies. How do they arrive at a mentality that says their way is the only way? Scary.

  4. Good grief, leave the statue and her breast alone. She is lovely.

  5. Although you call your blog Sundays in my city, I can't find a reference to which city. Where is this fountain? I write a blog about memorial drinking fountains and would like permission to use the photos of this drinking fountain. I will, of course, credit and link back to your site. You can view my blog at